More Adventure

Tim and I had big plans for last weekend.  We were going to drive to Texas to ride with Pondero.  We were concerned about weather on the return trip, and stayed closer to home.

Saturday was Tim’s birthday, and we usually try to put a ride together.  This time, it was on Friday.

We re-visited Daniel Boone National Forest, where we spent some time back in July.

Going to a remote area, and having a flaky GPS is a bad thing, so I brought both my old GPS, and the new one, recently replaced.

Belt and suspenders
Belt and suspenders

We started at S-Tree campground this time.  Tim and Patrick had scoped it out a while back, but I’d never been there.  The ride start was at 1400 feet of elevation.  It was a pleasant run on a gravel road that followed the ridge for a while.

We followed a turn-off that lead to a cleared piece of land overlooking… well, everything.  I have no idea what the purpose of the clearing is.  Maybe someone will build there.

Clearing with a view
Clearing with a view
Tim at the edge of the world
Tim at the edge of the world

After a while we took a steep downhill, still on gravel down to our only paved road of the day, KY-89.  That was a couple of miles riding along the river, with some dogs chasing us along the way.  Traffic was extremely light.  There was a neat old wooden-decked bridge over Horse Lick Creek, a tributary of the Rockcastle River.

Neat bridge
Neat bridge

We eventually turned off near where Horse Lick Creek branches off from the Rockcastle River.  This was a pleasant ride for a while.  After enjoying a snack at a deserted intersection, we continued along.  Our GPS route had us crossing the creek at a location that just wasn’t feasible – and there was a “private property” sign on the other side of the creek.

We continued on “our side” of the creek for a while.  It remained mostly flat, but large mud pits became common.  I was reminded of the old videogame, Pitfall!.

After a while our road path dead-ended at a campsite along the creek.  It wasn’t feasible to cross the creek there, and moving away from the water meant a steep climb through the woods.

Not crossing here
Not crossing here

We considered taking crossing the creek anyway.  We took off our shoes and socks, intending to walk across.  It was too far.  The rocks were sharp.  The water was icy.  I bailed and put my footwear back on.

We turned around, and later hiked crawled up the hill.  Near the top was an interesting rock bridge and a cave.  Neat, but I was too tired to get closer.  We moved on.

Rock bridge
Rock bridge

After riding along the ridgetop for a while, there was a mostly-unrideable descent back to the creek.  This creek crossing was shallower, and looked rideable.

Tim made it successfully
Tim made it successfully
I did not
I did not

It takes more than wet feet to deter me, so we continued on.  In the flat spot by the creek, there was an open field with the makings for a bonfire.  We had brought coffee-making materials, but time was running short.  Sunset comes early this time of year, and we weren’t equipped with good lights.  We skipped the coffee, but I did change into some dry socks.  We also decided to cut the ride short, and head directly back to the car.

I mostly quit taking pictures at this point.  We were off track according to the GPS, and there was that pesky creek and it’s cold water between us and the magic purple line.  Tim and I had disagreements over the route, but it was his ride, and I followed.

In the end, even though I was technically right, his way worked fine.  He has a better sense of direction than I do.

We had a couple of miles of endless mud pits to cross.  I got a bit reckless due to my haste, and went over the bars.  I wasn’t hurt, but rattled.

The temperature had dropped.  My rear derailleur was iced up and wouldn’t shift at all.  Tim’s drivetrain had similar issues.

Eventually we joined up with Raccoon Creek Rd.  This began our climb back to the car.  I walked most of it.

Raccoon Creek Rd and the endless mudpits before were a low point for me.  I really wanted to give up cycling.  I wanted to stay home where it’s warm and dry.  However, I didn’t want to get rid of the Fargo as I had in some previous trips, so apparently the bike changes helped there.

Before I knew it, we were at the car.  The sun was slowly setting.  What was supposed to be a short ride took all day.  We stopped for pizza on the drive home.  It was a nice finish to the day.

Now, my bike is cleaned and lubed.  The sore muscles have returned to normal.  The clothing has been washed, dried, and put away.  Now what?  I want to do it again, of course.

Tim’s write up is here.

Download file: 2014-11-14.gpx

Fargo Changes

After the rides I did earlier in the year on the Fargo, the drop bars were really hurting me.  I decided to take a risk and make some changes.

I bought Jones H-Bar handlebars, Silver Shifters, and Paul Thumbies, some new brake levers, and a new rear derailleur. This gives me a more upright riding position.  The derailleur is just because I’m trying to sell the old shifter/brake levers/derailleur together as a set.

Fargo Cockpit View
Fargo Cockpit View

Bar tape and grips finished up the bars.  The upright riding position didn’t work well with the stock saddle, so I moved the black Brooks saddle and seatpost over from the single-speed (there’s another story there too).

Muddy Fargo
Muddy Fargo

The bike as you see above was how it was ridden last weekend.  I still want to change out the rest of the drivetrain.  Shifting 10-speed stuff with friction can be problematic sometimes.  I’ll replace the cassette with an 8-speed, which means a new chain also.  I’d like to replace the crankset with a triple.  This bike will be for gravel adventure, winter commuting, and some touring.

Riding High
Riding High

This is a picture (stolen from Tim) from last weekend’s ride.  Yes, it’s a very upright position.

August 16th, Ferdinand Gravel Ride

I’m still trying to catch up with my writing.  I’m showing that I actually did ride this year.

Ferdinand State Forest in Indiana has some wonderful gravel roads.  Tim and I headed out there on August 16th for some adventure.  Tim’s write-up is here.

My favorite road picture
My favorite road picture

This was a 42-mile ride.  I suffered a bit from it.  I’ve had more issues with my neck, and riding the Fargo seems to make things worse.

Tim is happy
Tim is happy

It was a good day to get out for a ride.  The flat I had after riding down a “farm road” didn’t bother me.

Bad selfie
Bad selfie
Good roads
Good roads
Download file: 2014-08-16.gpx

August 10th, Miles With Tim

After our Charlestown Pizza ride in July, Tim and I wanted to revisit the area, but on a longer ride.

So, on August 10th we headed out through Utica toward Charlestown.  I was on the rSogn, Tim was riding his Lightspeed.

Old bridge
Old bridge

This was three months ago, so the details are sketchy, but I ended up with over 80 miles for the day.  We were caught in a hailstorm on the way home.  In other words, perfect.

Heavy skies in Utica
Heavy skies in Utica

Tim wrote about it when it was fresher in his mind.

Download file: 2014-08-10.gpx

Fun Ride, Poor Body

In January of 2013, I joined Tim, Patrick, and Timothy for a sloppy-winter gravel ride out of Marengo Indiana.  Today, it was Tim, Timothy, Jeff, and I.

Last time was a planned 40-mile ride, but was shortened a bit.  This time, we did the short version, at 36 miles.

Last time it was cold and muddy with bits of ice.  Today was cool, but mostly pleasant.  There were still several creek crossings and  numerous large puddles, so I didn’t stay dry, but it wasn’t a problem.

I’ve gained a lot of weight and lost fitness.  I really struggled on this ride.  For that reason, I took no pictures.  I was too busy trying to keep up.

I really wanted to give up during the first four miles.  After that I felt good until mile 18, at which point the wheels fell off.  I wanted to quit.  I wondered what could possibly make me want to slog up and down all these damn hills.

I eventually got over it.  The terrain is rugged but beautiful.  Traffic is nearly non-existent.  The road surface is rough enough to be interesting, but not so bad as to make it dangerous.  I even managed to get the Fargo up to higher than normal speeds downhill (40mph or so – on gravel).

What really came out of this ride is that I’m too damn fat.  Most of the weight gain has been from beer.  I really need to re-evaluate my relationship with beer.

Download file: 2014-11-09.gpx

Edit: Tim has posted his (better) write-up with pictures.

Catching Up and Staying Sane (I Hope)


Yes, my writing has languished.  I’m trying to catch up.  Go read the last two posts then come on back.  Done?  Good.

I’ve not been weighing myself.  I’ve not been losing weight.  I’ve done some bike riding, but not enough.  I’m drinking too much beer.  I’ve been depressed.

Normal tasks have overwhelmed me, including writing here, where I try to make myself accountable to the public.  That was the whole point of this writing.

I can’t fix everything, but I use this site as a repository of what I have done.  I draw my own inspiration from it.  I can’t ignore it anymore.  Over the next few days to a week I’ll get it up to date to the best of my ability.  Then, once that it habit again, I’ll work on something else.  Diet?  Exercise?  Something.


My temporary job is coming to an end.  It’s harder to get a new job when you feel like a failure.  Earlier today, I actually felt like I was wrapping up my life, rather than just one job.  It’s not that I’ll miss the job (I might miss the income).  It’s that I feel I have nowhere left to go.  Luckily, the feeling has passed, and I’m normal(ish) again.  It was a disturbing feeling.

I went off the anti-depressant a couple of months ago.  The mental side-effects it had on me were not healthy.  I need to do this without a pill.  Change needs to come from within.

Wish me luck!

Charlestown Pizza Ride

I used to live in Charlestown Indiana.  It’s not that far.  They have a cool pizza place.  Tim and I decided to do a road ride there and enjoy some food and beer.

On a Friday in July, I took the day off work.  After running some errands, I met up with Tim at Quill’s coffee to get the day started.

This was a road ride, so I was on the rSogn.  Tim was on his Lightspeed.


We took the Big-4 bridge across to Indiana.  Riding this thing is absurd.  There’s nearly always huge crowds of pedestrians.  I’d say “screw it” and take the Second Street Bridge, but the I-65 realignment and bridge project is going to turn that bridge into a high-speed exit ramp.  Bleh.

Once across, the ride up to Utica is pleasant and rather flat.  Being along the river tends to do that.

Ohio River and fluffy clouds
Ohio River and fluffy clouds

There’s a gradual climb up Waterline Rd.  We took Highway 62 into Charlestown and enjoyed our tasty treat.

We took part of my old 11-mile loop north of town then headed down hilly Bethany Rd and back to Waterline, and back the way we came.

It was a nice 58 miles for the day.

Good food
Good food
Download file: 2014-07-25.gpx

Back to Volleyball

Volleyball took me out in January.  I popped my Achilles and that changed my life for a while.

On Monday, July 21st, I got back to playing volleyball.  I was a bit worried about my right ankle.  Strangely, during the first two weeks of play, my right leg was hurting.  Eventually that went away.

I recently finished up the session.  I’m not playing indoor anymore, partially because the harder floor is hard on me, and partially because it’s farther away than I want to travel.  I’ll play again in the Spring when they come back outdoor.

Daniel Boone National Forest

Tim, Timothy, and I drove down to DBNF back in mid-July for a camping and biking trip.  It was intended to be three days of riding, starting on Friday the 18th, but the riding was much tougher than we planned for, so we rode two days.  We still camped for two nights.

Yes, I’m behind on writing here.  More about that later.

I’ll admit to being nervous about the trip.  We were going to be in a very rural, rugged area.  My neck was flaring up.  My Achilles was still healing.  Damn it!  I needed a ride!

Download file: 2014-07-18.gpx

My new GPS totally failed me.  It refused to show our course on the map.  Timothy had forgotten to load the course on his.  Luckily, Tim had no issues with his.

On the GPS track above.  See the little wiggle off to the east?  That was our “Big Sinking Creek” loop.  It was an off-road adventure that turned out to be much more than we bargained for.  It was beautiful and rugged, but mostly unrideable.

Sure, we can ride thatThe scenery was worthwhile.

Cliff & creek

It’s called Big Sinking Creek because the creek is partially below ground.  I assume it disappears and reappears seasonally.  We had plenty of opportunity to ride and walk through it.

Wet feet

The rest of the ride was low-traffic, mostly-unpaved roads.  It was quite pleasant.


We finished the day tired and went to Red River Rockhouse for dinner before heading back to camp.  I slept like a log.  Tim’s write-up on Friday is here.

If Friday’s word was “Hiking”, then Saturday’s was “Mud”.

It rained overnight.  I slept through the worst of it.  Getting out of the tent was a damp experience.

Most of the rain had passed.  It continued to sprinkle occasionally, and the mist was constant.

Damp morning

After coffee & breakfast at camp we drove to Heidelberg for a nice parking spot along the Kentucky River.

Fargo and mist

The goal for the day was to ride to Turkeyfoot campground and cook our own lunch.  We were each carrying small stoves and a little food.

Download file: 2014-07-19.gpx

The ride started out on paved roads, then a nice gravel road, then a turn onto a rutted, muddy, mess.  Timothy managed to go over his bars at some point, but he was unhurt.


Happiness is a muddy GPS.

Muddy GPS

We eventually make it to Turkeyfoot.  It’s a very pleasant campground.  It has no fresh water supply, but we brought our own.


Turkeyfoot is alongside a creek.  The picnic area is near the creek.  This made it quite handy to climb in the water and rinse off the mud.  I didn’t even think about snakes until I was already in the water, but I never did see one.

The Esbit stoves did a good job of boiling water for my simple meal of macaroni & cheese with tuna.  After eating and relaxing we still had to get back to the car.

We took a different route back that wasn’t as rugged.  There was still a mud-pit road, but it was not rutted.  It was completely rideable.  It would have been enjoyable had I not been so exhausted and sore.

That was not to last as we hit another rocky, rutted, rough stretch and we walked again.

Once things flattened out and we were along a creek again, I wanted to sprint to the car.  I didn’t have a sprint left in me.  I was done.  We all were dragging back to the car.

Tim and I discussed not riding on Sunday.  We discussed leaving soon.  It was eventually decided we’d go ahead and camp Saturday night, and head out in the morning.

We had a simple meal at camp.  I slept soundly again.


My bike was a mess.  It wouldn’t shift right.  The brake pads were toast.

I was a mess.  I’d had several instances this year where I hate the Fargo.  I put it up for sale once, then pulled it back down.  I was considering selling it again.  It physically hurts me to ride it.

Many tough rides can be hard at the time.  I’ve cried during rides before.  I usually enjoy the rides much more in retrospect.  Initially, I was having a hard time with this ride, even in retrospect.  I’ve gained weight.  The bike hurts my neck.  I love these kind of adventures and the recumbent won’t work for this type of riding.

Now, more than three months later, the ride was excellent, in retrospect.  I haven’t sold the Fargo.  I actually switched out the handlebars, brake levers, cables, shifters, rear derailleur, and cleaned up everything.  It’s a totally new bike.  I don’t know what it’ll be like on another awesome adventure like this, but so far I like it.